18+1 Bits of Tongue in Cheek Advice for Speakers




Peter de Jager is a provocative Speaker, Writer and Consultant. His primary focus in on how we manage change, technology and the future.

In addition to speaking at conferences worldwide, he's also written monthly columns for Municipal World and Computing Canada.

His goal is always to question what we think is so, and in so doing perhaps open up new opportunities.

If you'd like permission to reprint any of Peter's articles, please contact him directly.

You can contact him at

Or sign the Guest Book and he'll get back to you. 

1. Your presentation should bear at least a passing resemblance to the announced topic.

2. If at all possible, you should stop talking before your audience stops listening.

3. If you must insist on speaking past your allotted time, you must start giving the next speaker's presentation which you will find on the lectern under your glass of water.

4. All humour must be either “politically correct” or funny. If you manage to achieve both these goals at the same time, you are eligible for a bonus and possibly a standing ovation.

5. Keep your ego in check. It was our intent to book the best speaker possible, but they weren’t available, so we booked you instead.

6. Wandering around the audience is allowed, but you’re expected to find your own way back to the podium.

7. The slickness of your presentation should not outweigh its content, by more than 33.4%

8. If you intend to use sophisticated technological equipment, you must provide to the meeting planner (in advance) documented DNA evidence proving beyond all reasonable doubt that you are related to Bill Gates.

9. If you are intending to fly into town the morning of the talk, you must first present to the meeting planner your pilot's license and the registration number of your private jet.

10. As you step up onto the stage, you’ll notice the trapdoor under your feet, please ignore the splashing and growling sounds below. Due to a computer malfunction the electronic lock on the door has been keyed to any mention of your product. We apologize for the inconvenience. Relax and do your best.

11. Please plan to distribute written transcripts to the audience in advance of your presentation, if you intend to mumble and speak very s o f t l y.

12. Boring speakers are expected to supply their own pillows for the audience. We have a stock of these available for a nominal fee at the registration desk.

13. Federal Regulations have set minimum hourly presentation content as follows:
            At least one new idea not found in the latest best-seller
            At least one original idea or way of looking at the world
            At least one audience laugh, okay…a grin or a smirk will suffice,
                      (a guffaw increases the speaker fee by 1%)
            At least one takeaway idea; this does not include a determination never to attend another conference
            At least one good reason to provide a round of applause at the end

14. If you intend to read your presentation, don’t hand out transcripts to the audience before you start. Since they read faster than you… we want to keep the ending a surprise.

15. When you speak, where will you be standing? On the Podium or the Lectern? We need to know so that we know where to aim the camera and if we need to rent a 12 ft microphone stand. 

16. Be advised that any audience member is entitled to look at their watch during your presentation. However, they should not be compelled to shake and slap their watches to make sure they’re still working… If this does occur, please take corrective action immediately, otherwise the hotel fire alarm will begin to ring.

17. If your speech is a book report, send us copies of the book instead.

18. Our PowerPoint computer and projector system is broken, the service technician is scheduled to arrive sometime between 9:00am and whenever he feels like it. In the meantime, here’s what’s going on;
               -It won’t display any text smaller than 30 points in size.
               -If the contrast between the text and the background isn’t enough, the machine explodes in
                      a cloud of flame and smoke. (Sorry about that). 
               -All animated transitions are acting weird; they send strong electrical impulses
                      to the handheld microphone instead. 
               -For some reason the number of slides it will display during a presentation is
                      always less than the number of minutes allocated to the speaker.
               -The projection bulb has been turning into a Rabid Weasel for no reason
                      that we can figure out, be prepared to give your presentation without the projector,
                      (and please bring some food for the weasel)

All kidding aside… Speak from your heart, and we'll use ours to listen.
                              Strive to make our thoughts roar, and cause our to eyes glisten,
                              We’ll give you of our precious time!
                               So speak! But please not in rhyme!
                               We need to get serious… you’re up next!

Global and Regional Union of Meeting Planners (G.RU.M.P.)

P.S. If you’d like a very detailed speaker evaluation form intended for improving a business speaker, you can find it here. http://www.technobility.com/docs/speakerevalform.doc

© 2006 Peter de Jager – Yes, he's a speaker with a passion for Change. You can contact him at pdejager@technobility.com

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